The new “Citizen Safety Law” that took effect in Spain on July 1 is notoriously draconian, making it illegal to march on public buildings, and imposing prohibitive fines for holding any protest without a permit. It also raises the minimum penalty for public cannabis use or possession from 300 to 600 euros, with the maximum penalty set at a whopping 30,000 euros for “grave infractions.”
But even this is something of a victory, as conservatives had been pressing to raise the minimum for to 1,000 euros. And there may be a more surprising bright side. According to reports on the Medical Cannabis Spain Blog and LaMarihuana.com, language was added to the section of the law dealing with cultivation, saying that it will only be punishable when it is “in visible public places.” The reports state that this means cultivation behind closed doors is effectively decriminalized in Spain, as private possession has been for several years.
The cultivation provision is getting little mainstream media coverage, even within Spain, and we hope that it will be honored. Spanish news site 20Minutes reports that cultivation busts have been on the increase. The National Police in 2014 “decommissioned” 86,000 plants nationwide. Just in the first six months of 2015, the figure was up to 60,000. And that doesn’t count another 90,000 plants seized by the Guardia Civil last year—the paramilitary force that is brought in for bigger hauls, where the involvement of trafficking is suspected.
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